Ralph L. Nelson, 86, of Sturgeon Bay passed away quietly on Tuesday, December 21, 2021, with family at his side. He was residing at Cherry Cove Assisted Living Center in Sturgeon Bay after a long illness.
He was born November 23, 1935, in Ellison Bay, the son of the late Elmer and Irene (Gename) Nelson. He served his country proudly as a paratrooper with the 101st Airborne Division of the United States Army. Ralph held many occupations throughout his life (truck driver, Great Lakes freighter crew member, commercial fisherman, etc.) before settling in as an automotive mechanic for J & W Motors, Jones Chrysler Plymouth and Moeller’s Garage until his retirement. In retirement, Ralph was a familiar face to many as he worked at the Marathon Gas Station.
On January 3, 1959, he married Rosalind J. (Bishop) Greatens at St. Mary Catholic Church in Chilton, WI. Their son Mark was born later that year. The marriage ended in divorce in 1975.
On December 10, 1978, he married Dawn M. (Serafico) Nelson at St. Peters Ev. Lutheran Church. She preceded him in death on January 10, 2009. Daughter Kimberly was born of that union.
Ralph was a member of St. Peter’s Ev. Lutheran Church. He was also a former member of the American Legion Post in Sturgeon Bay. He was an avid deer hunter, Brewers and Packers fan and enjoyed playing cribbage, bowling and a good Brandy Old Fashioned. Ralph was a fun loving, smiling joker who made you feel better just being around him.
Survivors include his son, Mark (Laura) Nelson of Franklin, WI; daughter, Kimberly (Kevin) Kasten of Sturgeon Bay; two step-sons, Jeff (Mary) Serafico, Quintin (Debbie) Serafico, both of Sturgeon Bay; eight grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; brother, Richard (Karen) Nelson of Sullivan, WI; sister, Alice Dragich of Menomonee Falls; and sister-in-law, Judy Nelson of Ellison Bay.
Preceding him in death were his parents; wife; two granddaughters, Alaya Serafico and Kristin Nelson; three brothers, George, Walter & Cedric; and two sisters, Marion Hoelz & Judy Fandrei.
He will be laid to rest at Bayside Cemetery Columbarium. A celebration of life is being planned for a future date in Ellison Bay.
Huehns Funeral Home, Inc. & Door County Crematory LLC are assisting the Nelson family. Expressions of sympathy, memories, and photos of Ralph may be shared through his tribute page at www.huehnsfuneralhome.com.
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